Optical fiber-based chemical sensors for detection of corrosion precursors and by-products

Jennifer Elster, Jonathan Greene, Mark Jones, Tim Bailey, Shannon Lenahan, William Velander, Roger VanTassell, William Hodges, Ignacio Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Optical fiber sensors are a novel and ideal approach for making chemical and physical measurements in a variety of harsh environments. They do not corrode, are resistant to most chemicals, immune to electromagnetic interference, light weight, inherently small and have a flexible geometry. This paper presents recent test results using optical fiber long-period grating (LPG) sensors to monitor corrosion precursors and by-products. With the appropriate coating, the LPG sensor can be designed to identify a variety of environmental target molecules, such as moisture, pH, sulfates, chlorates, nitrates and metal-ions in otherwise inaccessible regions of metallic structures. Detection of these chemicals can be used to determine if the environment within a particular area of an airplane or infrastructure is becoming conducive to corrosion or whether the corrosion process is active. The LPG sensors offer a clear advantage over similar electrochemical sensors since they can be rendered immune to temperature cross-sensitivity, multiplexed along a single fiber, and can be demodulated using a simple, low-cost spectrum analyzer. By coating the LPG sensor with specially designed affinity coatings that selectively absorb target molecules, selective, real-time monitoring of environmental conditions is possible. This sensing platform shows great promise for corrosion by-product detection in pipe networks, civil infrastructure, process control, and petroleum production operations and can be applied as biological sensors for in-vitro detection of pathogens, and chemical sensors for environmental and industrial process monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-257
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical fiber-based chemical sensors for detection of corrosion precursors and by-products'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this